Chillan - City of Chile
Chillán is a city in the Bío-Bío Region of Chile located about 400 km south of the capital, Santiago, near the geographical center of the country. It is the capital of Ñuble Province and, with a population of approximately 170.000 people , the most populated urban center of this province. Within the city are a railway station, an inter-city bus terminal, an agricultural extension of the University of Concepción, and a regimental military base. The city includes a modern-style enclosed shopping mall in addition to the multi-block open-air street market where fruits, vegetables, crafts and clothing are sold. The nearby mountains are a popular skiing destination.
CHILE National Animal : Huemul
Chillán was founded in 1580 at the site of Chillán Viejo as San Bartolomé de Chillán by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa, who was campaigning against the local indigenous peoples at the time. However, this moniker did not fare well, and was replaced by the current name, which in the local Indian language means "where the Sun is sitting".
From its foundation, Chillán has been at the heart of Chile's rich agricultural region. It is also in a region of seismic activity, suffering from devastating earthquakes throughout its history; the last, in 1939, left over 30,000 dead and mobilized international help.
Chile's national hero, Bernardo O'Higgins, was born in Chillán in 1778. He was the force behind Chile's Independence from Spain, being elected Supreme Director and declaring Independence after the Battle of Chacabuco against the Spaniards . His later victory at the Maipo battlefield cemented the country's freedom. He died in exile in Peru in 1842.
In addition, Chillán has offered a number of great artists to the world. A very notable example is Claudio Arrau, the world famous pianist. Additionally there is Ramón Vinay, the tenor who was "the" Othello of the 1950s. His recording of the role with Toscanini is a perennial classic. He was a regular at the New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he sang both tenor and baritone roles. One of his last performances at this house was as the Barber of Seville's Basilio, a bass role. He retired from the stage in 1969, in a performance of Othello at Santiago's Teatro Municipal. Coincidentally, another tenor from Chillán made his debut in the same performance, as Cassio: Germán Bustos, active in U.S. stages during the 1970s. He also appeared in European and South and Central American opera seasons.
Nowadays, the city of Chillán is connected to Chile's capital Santiago by both a modern highway and a rebuilt railway system that makes the trip in less than four hours.
CHILE National Bird : Andean Condor
CHILE National Flower : Copihue/ Chilean Bellflower Lapageria rosea
CHILE National Game : Chilean rodeo